This unfortunate case involves a 28 year-old man who was rear-ended by a tractor trailer. The force of the collision threw his vehicle into the path of an oncoming cement truck, which slammed into the victim’s vehicle. The young man died from his injuries at the scene.
After the collision, the driver of the rear-ending truck tested positive for high levels of cocaine and marijuana. The man’s family brought suit in Illinois, because the truck company was negligent for allowing the driver behind the wheel when he was clearly unfit to drive.
This case shows the appalling lengths some truck companies will go to avoid compensating victims. After the victim’s family filed suit in Illinois, the truck company stated under oath that it had only $1 million in insurance available, an obvious attempt to force a low settlement. The family’s attorney, suspecting this wasn’t true, had to file another lawsuit in Oklahoma, where the tractor-trailer was registered. In Oklahoma, defendants like the trucking company can be forced to confirm how much insurance coverage they have. It turned out that the trucking company had far more insurance coverage than they had admitted. There was actually $50,000,000 of insurance available.
At trial, the trucking company fought to keep the jury from hearing evidence of its driver’s drug use, but the judge allowed the evidence to be heard. At the end of the trial, the jury found the rear-ending driver and trucking company were 100% responsible for the collision. The jury awarded the victim’s family $18.2 million for the deceased man's lost future earnings and the loss of the his companionship. The jury awarded an additional $1 million for the man’s suffering before he died at the scene of the wreck.
Hopefully, this will convince the at-fault trucking company to think twice next time before they put a dangerous trucker out on our roads.